Article content continued
“I don’t want another lockdown, no one wants another lockdown, but if in the end it is our only choice to keep people healthy and safe and prevent a recession, we must do it,” Nenshi said.
Alberta Health reported 581 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, 525 on Saturday, 592 on Sunday and 570 on Monday. These days it is up 4.4 per cent on Friday, 4.0 per cent on Saturday, 5.2 per cent on Sunday and 6.8 per cent on Monday.
The city of Edmonton’s current positivity rate is 9.0 percent, one of the figures coming out of Tuesday’s update, said Dr. Linora Saxinger, an epidemiologist at the University of Alberta.
“This is a sign that we have not yet caught too many infections,” Saxinger said, adding that even the average five percent positive rate for the entire province was embarrassing.
“If we miss some, we miss the opportunity to prevent further spread through contact tracing and isolating. This is an early step towards losing control.”
Saxinger says a lockdown is the most obvious tool against a virus that people need sooner than they think, due to hospitalization damaging the health care system.
“If things get boiled, sometimes you have to put a lid on it, and then you can move forward with the best control measures that can help most effectively with a light touch,” says the epidemiologist.
A small lockdown may be required to “reset” the province, so public health officials can determine the best limits on where to go.
“The window is kind of narrow to make this call,” Saxinger said. “We can’t sustain 500 to 600 new cases a day for long.”
About 20 percent of new cases are over the age of 60, which directly affects the hospital rate.
“It doesn’t take long to put pressure on the health care system, especially when the system is generally running at high capacity. I know hospitals are in the process of making room for cases beyond expectation, but we’re just getting things straight and we’re already going to a challenging time,” Saxinger said.